Press Releases

First Take

ESPN’s First Take Records Most-Viewed Year Ever, Up 25% in 2017


Posted on

December 2017 up 60% vs. 2016

ESPN’s First Take recorded its most-viewed year ever (show launched in 2005 as Cold Pizza through 2007) with 449,000 viewers (P2+). Overall, the audience was 25% larger than last year (449,000 vs. 359,000). Among men 18-34, First Take was up 29% (106,000 vs. 82,000). 2017 also included six of the top-10 and 10 of the top-20 most-viewed First Take telecasts of all time.

“Our team is truly humbled by the support from our fans,” said David Roberts, ESPN Vice President, Network Content. “I can assure you this team on air and behind the scenes will not take this accomplishment for granted as we set new goals for continued growth in 2018.”

In addition, for 2017, First Take’s audience was more than triple that of Undisputed on FS1 – 449,000 vs. 131,000. The ESPN show’s advantage among men 18-34 was nearly four times that of Undisputed with an average of 106,000 impressions vs. 27,000 for FS1.

“It’s been a phenomenal year,” said ESPN First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith. “But that’s what happens when you’re blessed with tremendous leadership and support from the top on down, to all the producers on our show daily, along with teammates like Max and Molly. With that said, we’re just getting started. For anyone expecting us to take our foot off the gas, think again. Onward and upward in 2018.”

In December, First Take enjoyed a 60% increase in overall viewership over the previous year, averaging 485,000 viewers (vs. 303,000 in 2016). The month came in as the second most-viewed December on record (behind Dec. 2015 with 497,000 viewers).

First Take – ESPN’s weekday morning studio debate show featuring commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman with host Molly Qerim – airs weekday mornings from 10 a.m. – noon ET focusing on the most compelling and entertaining topics of the day from the world of sports. Smith also hosts his daily The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio from 1-3 p.m., also available on the ESPN app,, Apple Music, Slacker Radio and TuneIn.